In the first College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday by the committee, the Texas Longhorns came in at No. 7, the highest positioning for any Big 12 program, the same spot the Longhorns hold in the AP Top 25 and one spot below the Coaches Poll.
Not only is it the highest debut ranking for the Horns in the CFP rankings, surpassing the No. 14 ranking heading into the 2018 Sugar Bowl, that was also the highest ranking for Texas by the committee.
Ohio State took the first spot in the CFP rankings, followed by Georgia, Michigan, Florida State, Washington, and Oregon. Behind Texas, Alabama is at No. 8 and Oklahoma is at No. 9 with three Big 12 teams in the back end of the top 25 — Kansas at No. 22, Oklahoma State at No. 23, and Kansas State at No. 24.
“I’d argue we have the best win in the country right now — the fact that we go into Tuscaloosa, Alabama and beat a team that was 52-1 in the previous 53 games of us going in there,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said on Monday, as he made the case for his team.
“I think we’ve got a pretty good football team and I think that we’re a very versatile team. I think the fact that we started our backup quarterback against a 5-2 team and won 35-6 and we get another opportunity this weekend to play with our backup quarterback,” said Sarkisian. “Not every team out there has had to endure some of the things that we’ve had to and if they had to play with their backup, how would they play? But I think it speaks to the type of team that we have.”
The Longhorns need some help to make the College Football Playoffs, but Sarkisian also realizes that a big test looms on Saturday in Austin against the Wildcats, a game Texas has to win in order to keep their hopes for the Big 12 title and the College Football playoffs alive.
If Texas does win out, there are multiple projections — from Jerry Palm of CBS Sports and Brad Crawford of 247Sports — that they would make the playoffs as the No. 4 seed.
“I think over time this whole thing will play itself out, so we’ve got to focus on what we need to do Saturday and play our best football,” said Sarkisian.